One of the most important components to maintaining a reliable and efficient network is keeping the firmware on your network devices updated. You know you need the latest firmware to get the latest security patches, and compliance monitors look for evidence you are performing the updates. These devices usually include managed switches, routers, wireless access points, and intrusion detection systems among other network devices. Just follow the device’s documentation to perform the update, unless the device manufacturer doesn’t provide the proper procedures for upgrading the firmware. An unsuccessful upgrade can not only result in connectivity issues, but might also render the device entirely inoperable. To perform safe upgrades, you should follow patching best practices:
- Back up the device’s current configuration.
- Reset the device to its factory default settings.
- Apply the firmware update per the manufacturers instructions.
- Reset the device to its factory default settings again.
- Restore the device’s configuration settings from the backup you created in Step 1.
- Reboot or restart the device.
- Test everything to make sure the device is configured properly and working correctly.
Tip: While most devices provide a soft reset and a hard reset facility, always perform a hard reset when given the opportunity.
If compliance evidence, you will need to provide screen shots of output logs from the device showing dates, times, and before/after settings. You should also log evidence of testing, which will help prove you tested everything and it was working after the upgrade.